Twenty four hours after taking his oath of office, the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday visited the nation’s economic gateway, the Lagos Ports, Apapa, and assured residents in Apapa and its environs that plans were on the way, to find an enduring solution to the gridlock in the area.
Sanwo-Olu who inspected the traffic situation in Apapa in addition to visiting the Nigerian Ports Authority, as well as the Lily Pond Terminal to rub minds with port operators, noted that the traffic problem in the area and its environs was multi-faceted.
Specifically, the Governor observed that the intractable traffic situation required joint efforts of the State government, their federal counterpart as well as core stakeholders to find a lasting solution.
He was willing to listen to industry operators who reeled out several challenges confronting the area. He described the port as a Federal Government property, but being used mostly, by Lagos residents.
“We must thank the Federal Government for setting up a Presidential Taskforce that will work with the state government to resolve the gridlock in Apapa.
“The facility is owned by the Federal government, but the users are Lagos citizens.
“We have discovered that the problem of Apapa is multi-faceted; one agency cannot resolve the issue.
“We have met with security officers and operators on ground. We have seen the problem is multi-faceted.
“It is more than what one company can bring solution to,” he said, adding that during the tour, he actually realised that NPA and Dangote had worked on the wharf road up to the Apapa port.
He, however, said it was sad that the trucks were still parking on the road.
“From our interactions with the stakeholders, it was discovered that NPA has a concession company, APMT.
“We realized that there is a disconnect in the activities of picking and dropping of containers in the ports.
“One of the strategies we will be engaging is NIMASA, shipping councils, NPA and others to resolve the issue, especially on how they can push the commencement date for the collection of demurrage,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the 1,000 capacity Tin Can Ports terminal would be available in June.
“What is left to complete is the water system, toilet facility and power supply, which is the aspect left to fix.
“Once they do that, all the trucks on the Ijora Bridge and others within that axis can use it.
“Another solution, which is the third, is the land we have within the Tin Can Port.
“The land will need the cooperation of the federal and state government.
“We will need to move the people that are occupying the land, because the occupants are illegal squatters.
“We need to source for money to complete the project.
“There are other smaller terminals that the committee is working on,” he said.
According to him, the final solution is around the corner.
“We are hoping in due cause, we will get all these issues behind us,” he said.
The Governor, however, said the long term solution to ending the gridlock within Apapa was an economic one.
“We need to build another port. It is a long term solution. We will take it upon ourselves, with the support of the NPA, to develop the Lekki and Badagry ports,” he said.